Monday, 30 November 2015

Heading Home

It's Monday morning
Usually I would be at the doctors around this time
But today is different
Today I am on a train from Cork bound for Dublin
It's easier to go to Dublin first 
Then over to the west and my home town
The first train takes two hours forty minutes
Then we get a tram to Connolly train station
Where we board another train that takes three hours
After that there is a thirty minute car ride to our house
So all in all
It's a bit of a marathon of a journey
But then
I don't tend to be conscious for most of it
It's an enjoyable trip though
As we are on trains so we can drink tea and stretch our legs and use the bathroom if we need to 
Hopefully 
All going well
We should be home at about 7pm

Food for me has been really difficult this weekend 
From the moment we arrived until the moment we left 
I have been thinking about food
I guess because I am in someone else's house
I feel a bit out of control 
The foods I like to eat are not there
So I have to go to the shops and stock up
At the moment I am eating a lot of pickles
I always crave pickles when I am not feeling great physically 
I literally drink the vinegar from the jar
And the strong, tangy, sour flavour hits the spot every time
So we had to go through about four shops to find the pickles 
And the thing is 
Nothing else will do
It has to be pickles
Not gherkins 
Not spring onions 
Mixed pickles

It started on Friday when we arrived
My sisters partner had a lovely homely beef stew and mash ready for us
Perfect for a chilly winter evening 
I demolished a big bowl full
But I knew before I even started to eat
That it wouldn't stay down
I washed it all down with fizzy 7up
And excused myself to the bathroom
The house was small
Two bedrooms
And one bathroom
As I was sharing the facilities 
I needed to be quick, quiet and very clean and tidy
This started off a whole four days of eat, purge, eat, purge......
I was literally eating every few minutes
And purging just as much 
Over the weekend 
We ate out a couple of times
This is a nightmare 
Purging in public bathrooms is not an easy task 
But 
Over the years I have found ways and means of doing it
It's amazing how you never forget that stuff

As you can tell 
My purging had increased of late
It's becoming a problem again
And my body feels every bit of it 
I feel weary 
Stiff 
And sore 
I hate purging 
But I feel utterly compelled to do it
And now it seem to have set off some kind of chain reaction with eating and purging 
I literally couldn't stop eating 
And in turn purging 
I couldn't sit still on the couch
Every few minutes I would be up eating something else
It's complete obsessive behaviour
My mum has already said it to me
And I want to stop
But I feel so out of control its scary
Now I am going home 
I need to get back on track again
I think I am going to ring Mary 
And ask her for a couple of top up sessions 
I really could do with the extra support right about now

I had no scales this weekend either
Which drove me slightly batty
In my head I have gained ten pounds 
There's another problem right there 
The scales 
I really need to end that relationship once and for all
I want to be set free 
But in all reality
I know the first thing o do when I get home is to weigh myself 
This is all so horribly familiar
I've been here before 
Falling off the wagon
My ED is a slippery little sucker 
And my behaviours are snow balling at a rapid pace 
But still 
I kid myself in to thinking that I am ok 
Because I am not yet underweight 
When I know better 
I know that is complete horse shit
It doesn't matter how much you weigh
It's the behaviours
The actions 
More so than the number on the scale 
God can I spiel this stuff out
But applying it to myself is so difficult 

Anyway 
I'm looking forward to getting home
To see Honey and Lea
Who I hear have been very afraid of the storm that hit this weekend 
Thunder drives them nuts!
It's lovely to go away
But it's even lovlier to come home
I can't wait to close the door
Put a fire on 
Change in to my pyjamas 
Make a cup of tea 
And cosy up on the couch
See you on the next post.....

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Girl

There are two things that I notice more than anything else when ever I visit a city
The addicts
And the homeless 
I don't always see the shops
The lights 
The sights and the sounds 
I see the people asleep in doorways on cardboard boxes
I see the pinned and haunted eyes of heroin addicts
The empty bottles of the street drinkers 
The scatty manicness of the meth users 
The slurred speech of those on methadone
This city is no different
The first homeless guy I saw today was sitting on the cold hard ground
Dressed in a thin jumper and pants
He was visibly shivering with the cold 
His eyes on the ground in front of him
We walked by 
Stopped and looked back
We were all thinking the same thing 
The poor guy
We pooled our change and gave him five euro 
Tipping it in to his paper cup
He looked up when he heard the rattle of the change 
And stuck his hand out
As if to touch the saviour who would allow him to buy a cup of tea and a sandwich 
I usually talk to the homeless when I'm giving them something 
But with this guy
I don't know 
He looked so destitute 
I didn't think anything I could say could make him feel better
Walking away
I turned back to look at him 
He hadn't even checked his cup
His eyes still downwards
I felt guilty in that moment 
Guilty that I had so much 
And he had so little 
Life is unfair 
It's all a game of chance 

We went for lunch then 
And decided to pick the homeless man up some soup 
We walked back to where he was sitting 
There were people talking to him
Giving him bags of what I presume were food
He looked like he was rubbing tears from his eyes 
A lady kneeled at his side giving comforting words 
We decided to give the soup to another homeless person 
And it wasn't long before we met another one 
He gratefully accepted it
And we went on our way

Last night 
We went to see a musical 
After it had finished 
And we had all piled out of the theatre 
I had run across the road to the shop to get a carton of milk
I noticed a girl with two dogs out side the shop 
It was the dogs that attracted me 
And I bent down to pet them and talk too them 
And could tell by the girls demeanour that she was out of her mind 
She was skinny
Wobbly on her feet 
And louder then she needed to be
I asked her about the dogs 
She said they were rescue dogs 
That she was minding them for someone
They had no collars 
No leads 
And seemed really clingy and afraid 
I looked in to the girls eyes
Her pupils were pinned 
Her lids fighting against the weight of the heroin in her blood
I asked her if I could ask her a question
Was she on the gear
She said she was 
That she had recently relapsed after a nasty break up
She had been clean for a year 
All the while she was talking to me 
There was another guy that was in and out of the shop
Talking at great speed to the girl 
She continued to speak to me 
Then all of a sudden I just knew I had to get out of there 
This is how I've slipped before 
Putting myself in stupid situations 
I wished her good luck
And went to walk in to the shop 
Next thing I knew 
She threw her arms around me 
And gave me a huge hug
I was taken aback
But I hugged her back
And in that moment 
I wanted to take the girl and her dog home with me
Nurse her through her withdrawal 
Love her dog in to a happy and healthy little guy

I went in to the shop
The guy was ahead of me 
Buying everything and anything 
At one point he turned around and apologised to me
I said it was no problem 
Just then 
My sister appeared 
It turned out that my sister and mother had been standing across the street and witnessed the whole exchange
My sister asked me if I was ok
I said I was 
But I wasn't really
Again 
I felt a sense of guilt 
That I had got out
And that girl hadn't 
I wondered what kind of place they were living 
Was it safe?
Was it full of addicts?
Was it warm?
I also wondered about the dog
Would they look after him?
Feed him?
Would he have a bed to sleep in that night?
Would someone let him out off he needed to wee?
Or would he be forced to pee where he lay down?
These questions bothered me
And still bother me
I feel a sense of survivor guilt 
I was extremely lucky 
To make it out alive
And relatively unscathed 
There are so many who didn't 
It's more the girls that upset me
Probably because I can relate to them more
And the fact that I know drugs take a far harder toll on women 
Where I live now 
I don't have to look at it 
It's not in my face 
But here 
And in Dublin and other cities 
I see it every 
I've always struggled to describe the look that heroin addicts aquire after a certain amount of time using 
It's like their faces all become the same
That same hollow cheeked, haunted eyes look 
Like the lights are on but no one is home
I read a post once by Shane Leverne 
Who writes Memoires of a heroin head
He described one of his characters once as having a 'smack sculpted face'
These are exactly the words I had been looking for 
I couldn't have described it so perfectly 

It's Sunday morning now
And that girl is still on my mind
I'm not worried though 
I know that soon she will drift to the back 
of my mind soon enough
And I don't kid myself 
I know if I had not been with my family
I probably would have gone and used with her 
And become her new best friend 
That's the way it seems to work in the drug world
It's like a secret little community 
Where everyone is connected by the drug
Everyone has it in common
And that is enough to base whole relationships on
Whether they last an hour or a year 

Something I also noticed yesterday while taking to the girl
Was that we seemed to get in to a one upman ship about drugs 
It goes something like that like this 
You're using 3 years?
Oh I'm using 5 years?
You started using in Dublin?
Well I started in London
You nearly died once?
I actually did die 
Does this seem familiar to anyone?
Yes 
It's a lot like the game we play with out EDs 
The Hunger Games 
That's just the way it is
And I definitely don't miss that 

Anyway 
Today is the last day of our little jolly
We head back tomorrow morning 
Everyone else is still in bed
Tired after yesterday's exertions
It's nice to have some time to myself 
To make sense of last night 
Why do these things always happen to me.....

To Cork......

So
Here we are in Cork
My Mum, my sister and I 
Are all staying with my sisters partner
The journey here was a marathon
We left before 9am
And arrived at 5pm
Although
I'll tell you a little secret 
I slept most of the way in the back seat
So I wasn't as tired as the rest when we arrived
Cork is Ireland's biggest county
Lying in the south west of the country
I've only been here once before
And loved it
So was excited to come back

My sisters partner had a beautiful, homely stew with mash upon our arrival 
Just what the doctor ordered
We took it easy last night
And watched The Toy Show
Which I wrote about yesterday
If you can
I would look it up 
As it's just the perfect thing to get you in the mood for Christmas
We made our way to bed at midnight
And was out before I could even read one page of my book

I awoke first this morning 
Late for me at 9 30am
I came downstairs 
Made a huge cup of tea and toast
And waited for the others to surface
One by one 
They came downstairs 
And sausages and bacon were put on the pan 
We ate
Had a quick shower 
And piled out in to my sisters car and headed for town

Cork city is lovely
It doesn't have the manicness of Dublin
But it's bigger than the city near us at home
We wandered around the shops
I was on a strict budget 
So just bought I pair of jeggings in 
Yes you've guessed it 
Fat Face 
Stick that in your pipe anonymous 

My Mum was looking for a warm jacket 
So we all spent about 45mins in the changing rooms of one particular shop
This changing room was smaller than a toilet cubicle 
You couldn't swing a cat in it 
She didn't find anything though
Well she did 
But the prices were extortionate
So she's going to wait for the January sales

We went for lunch in the Cork opera house 
A quirky little place with coloured chairs that looked like a kindergarten 
I had the kids sausage and chips
Yes I only wanted a small portion so ordered from the kids menu
It was yummy though
A meal in miniature

We walked around for another while
And finished up in water stones book shop
Where my sister and I decided to walk home
And the others took the car
We are home now 
Going to have some grub
Before heading out to see a musical
It's called ahem..
Menopause the Musical
It's meant to be really funny 
It was either that or the ballet
So we went with the funny one

Below are some photos from today
Enjoy...














Friday, 27 November 2015

The Toy Show

As you know 
I live in Ireland 
We are a country who appreciates tradition
Especially around Christmas time
There is a long running chat show 
That is on every Friday night
Called The Late Late Show
It's really an institution in this country 
And every year 
Around the end of November 
The Late Late Show 
Transforms in to The Late Late Toy Show
Which is on tonight

I really cant explain The Toy Show and do it justice
It has to be seen to be believed
The whole studio is transformed in to a winter wonderland 
All the audience dress up
But the children are the star of the show
Some sing
Some dance 
Some try out the toys 
The opening number is always spectacular 
The host Ryan, sings and dances with the children 
And the standard of talent is enormous 
There are also celebrities 
Games 
And the audience always get loads of free toys and goodies 

I make a point of watching The Toy Show every year
Growing up it was the highlight of my life
I can remember watching it on the Friday night
And again on Sunday afternoon when it was repeated
I remember my father coming home from the pub 
Steaming drunk 
And watching the end of it with us
As I've grown up 
The Toy Show has remained an integral part of my Christmas
It's all about the children
And they really are the stars of the show

I can clearly remember two years ago
I was in treatment just before Christmas 
And The Toy Show was on one Friday night
I was pretty devastated that I had to be there for it
And I almost didn't get to see it 
As I was on bed rest
And had to ask for permission 
They let me 
You'd want to have a heart of stone to turn down that request 
So we all settled in the TV room
The ED girls with our large cups of tea
Curled up on the bucket seats 
With our legs folded under us 
And the other patients 
With their chocolate and biscuits
And electronic cigarettes 
When the ads came on
We all hauled to the smoking room next door for a cheeky smoke 
Even though we were in hospital
The atmosphere was jolly and merry 
I still think of those people 
And wonder how they are doing 

So 
Here I  am
In my pyjamas 
With a cup of tea in hand 
Waiting for the show to start
Yes I think it's happening
Christmas is most definitely here....

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Methadone and trip to Cork....

I don't think I mentioned it on Monday
But my methadone was reduced 
My doctor had been talking about it for weeks
And he finally made a 2ml reduction this week
So I am now on 28mls
As you may know 
I am quite resistant to being weaned off the methadone 
And to be honest
More than putting up resistance 
I am petrified about it
I've been on this drug for ten years 
I'm physically and mentally 
Totally and absolutely addicted to it
My doctor asked me why I don't want to come off it
I couldn't really give him a reason 
Other than I am afraid 
I'm actually on more methadone now than I was last year
Summer 2014 
I was down to 22ml
And we could see an end point in sight 
Now the goalposts have been moved again
And that is down to me
And my fear of letting it go

It's also the structure of the methadone programme
Going to the doctor every week keeps me on the straight and narrow
And keeps me accountable 
I know if I use 
There will be consequences 
Then there is going to the chemist 
Collecting my Meds 
It's all an integral part of my life
I would feel a bit lost without that structure 
Or maybe I wouldn't 
Maybe I would relish my new found freedom
And get a new lease on life 
I don't know 
Because I'm too afraid to try
More than coming off the methadone
I am afraid of relapsing 
The very thought chills my bones
I would rather stay on methadone for the rest of my life  
That use for one more day
That's how scary it is to me

In other news 
I'm going away for the weekend tomorrow
My Mum, my sister and I are heading to Cork to stay with my sisters partner for a couple of nights 
It's a marathon drive at six hours down to the south west of the country
But we've been meaning to go for a while now 
So tomorrow is the day

I got a text last night 
From one of the ladies from AA 
I was delighted to get the text 
I guess I thought that people would just forget about me
It has really given me the push to go back to meetings 
So I am hoping to get to one next week
Fingers crossed 

You might have noticed that I have not write a personal post this week
That is mainly because I don't want to acknowledge what is happening
Needless to say
It's not good 
I feel like I am hanging on to recovery by my fingertips 
Every day it seems further and further away 
I'm not seeing Breda for another ten days
And I haven't yet contacted Mary 
As I keep hoping that things will improve
I'm reluctant to write too much about it 
As then it makes it real

Anyway 
That's it from me 
Just a short one today
I'll try and post from Cork
See you on the next post.... 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Interview

I mentioned a little while ago 
That I recently did a Skype interview with Angela Barnett
The author of the blog Fucking Awesome Bulimics I Know (FABIK)
We spoke for two hours early one Saturday morning 
And it was a pleasure from start to finish
I answered Angela's questions
We laughed a lot 
Shared our experience, strength and hope
Despaired at the lengths we went to got our disorders 
Angela contacted me yesterday to let me know that the interview is up on her blog
So here it is
Hope you enjoy....

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Hunger Games

One of the most dangerous aspects of anorexia
Is that the disorder always wants more
More weight loss 
To the point where sufferers become entangled in a twisted game of 'Who is the sickest?'
I've played this game 
Many times 
And no good can come if it 
Being an addict 
And having attended support groups
I have met many other girls like me
Who are cross addicted
And developed EDs as well as drug/alcohol addictions
Two girls in particular I became good friends with
We're we helping each other?
I'm not so sure 
I know I measured my weight against theirs 
One of the girls and I used to tell each other our weight
And  I committed it to memory 
And secretly tried to achieve a lower weight

They say that in regards to recovering
1/3 will recover
1/3 will live somewhere in between their disorder and recovery 
And 1/3 will never recover 
Those statistics ring true for me and my friends 
One of us has recovered
One is still knee deep in the disorder
And one is somewhere in between the two 

People with EDs 
Often have the sense that they are not sick enough 
And therefore don't deserve the title of 'anorectic'
Because there is always someone sicker or thinner than you 
If you are admitted to inpatient
The Hunger Games become amplified 
For me
Inpatient did not work 
I found that being surrounded by other disordered people made recovery and weight gain nigh on impossible 
I compared myself to other girls 
What we weighed 
What we ate
How much exercise we did 
It was all a sick and twisted game 
I just wasn't able to allow myself to gain weight in that situation
And have never completed treatment successfully
I've always done much better from home  
With support of course 

There is a kind of competition that comes with anorexia 
We wear our bones like trophies on our bodies 
We award ourselves with medals for the different milestones we achieve
Given the title of anorectic
Check
Underweight
Check
Seeing a counsellor
Check 
Inpatient
Check 
Inpatient especially has a kind of holy grail aura about it
Because we never believe we are sick enough
Being told you need to go in to inpatient is like being validated that yes you are sick enough to go to hospital  or treatment 
I know I spend much time worrying about the fact that I don't have an ED
Rather than the fact that I do have one

Although 
Having said all that 
One place that I don't feel a sense of competition
Is here on blogger
Why is that?
Probably because we get to see the real honest truth about what it's really like to live with a life threatening mental illness
The fear
The loneliness 
The isolation
The depression and anxiety
The family issues
The never ending merry-go-round of recovery and relapse
It's clear from reading about people's lives here
That an ED is not what it would have you believe 

Ive used this metaphor before 
But I will use it again
An ED is like an abuser
It grooms you and lures you in with false promises of happiness and success 
It paints a picture of what life will be like when you lose weight
You'll be lighter 
Prettier 
The smallest of all your friends 
And of course it will tell you that thinner people are more popular
More liked and loved 
Your boyfriend will be able to pick you up with no effort at all
You will wear anything you like
And look effortlessly beautiful
Oh yes
In return for your body
Your mind 
Your sanity
And your soul 
Anorexia will give you the life you always dreamed of
Hard to resist right? 
Once anorexia lures you in
And you are now captive 
Anorexia shows its true colours
And how evil it truly is
And once she is in your life 
Life will never be the same again

Thus far 
I've focused on anorexia
But of course there are other eating disorders
Unfortunately 
They are not given the same status that anorexia is
Bulimia for example
Is widely considered to  be anorexias less popular cousin
Having dealt with both 
I know first hand that it is a lot more difficult to talk about bulimia
If anorexia is cold, controlled and aloof
Then bulimia is loud and brash and in your face 
No one wants to admit that they throw up their food
It's messy
It's disgusting
It's not something that you talk about in polite company 
I think people feel sorry for people with anorexia
And disgusted by people with bulimia
It's not a fair appraisal at all 
Then there is binge eating disorder
And food addiction 
Which must be even more difficult to talk about 
Anorexia gets the most attention
That is for sure 
Maybe because seeing an emaciated person is so shocking 
Papers and magazines love a sensationalist story
With a shocking and disturbing picture to go with it
The same with obesity
But if you ask me
Anorexia and obesity are on the same spectrum
At opposite ends albeit
But it's the same problem
A problem with feelings
With reality 
With ourselves
And of course with food 
I have no doubt that I could easily become obese 
My relationship with food can be so disordered that it is a very real possibility 
As I have said before
I either eat none of the food
Or all of the food
There is no in between 

There is no glory in being the sickest or the thinnest
In the end 
Lives are torn apart as a result 
And really
There are no winners 
Only losers 
I know all too well that our EDs will not be satisfied until we are six feet under
Death is the ultimate prize 

There is no doubt
That eating disorders are complicated illnesses 
Often we don't know why we are doing what we are doing
But we feel compelled to do it
God knows I am going through it right now
And it's a battle to get back on track
It's so important in recovery 
To build a solid foundation on which to grow from
I think maybe that was my mistake 
I didn't have a platform from which to flourish
My recovery happened very quickly
And almost in spite of myself 
I think I started using the word recovery because I had gained weight
But then recovery really did happen
I did gain weight
My mood improved 
My anxiety and depression lifted 
But was it sustainable?
I'm not so sure
I think I need to start again
To take my time 
And build up my recovery layer by layer 
So that I have reserves
For when things turn sour 
Like now 
I am struggling to hold on to my recovery 
My ED is screaming in my ears these days 
I spoke to my family about it yesterday
For the first time 
They are worried 
As am I 
I was stupid to think that I could lose a few pounds and stop there 
I've lost too much weight in a very short space of time
My body is really suffering 
As is my mental health 
I'm thinking of ringing Mary and asking for a top up appointment 
I've also reached out to friends 
So I'm hoping to get back on track

With all that said
I was wondering about you
Have you ever been caught up in The Hunger Games?
Do you think that anorexia can become a game of who is the sickest? 
What is your experience of this?
Answers on a post card please.....



Monday, 23 November 2015

Iron minds

A new show started on TV here last night
Called Iron Minds
The premise of the show is all about the correlation between physical and mental health
The show is presented by Niall Breslin
Better known as Bressie 
Bressie is the former lead singer of the band The Blizzards 
He is also a judge on the Irish The Voice
And has spoken out very publicly about his battle with depression and anxiety
Bressie is regarded as a well rounded individual here 
He also happens to be a 6'2 hunk which gets him a lot of female attention
But more than that 
He is just a really really sound guy
And genuinely wants to help others 

In recent years 
Bressie has turned to health and fitness to help him battle his demons
He runs, swims and cycles
Regularly competing in triathlons and Ironmans
To see if he could help others in the same position 
Bressie recruited four people from the four corners of Ireland
Orla 
Mark
Colm
And Jade
And put them through a series of endurance challenges 
All under the watchful eye of medical experts of course 
All the participants had varying degrees of mental illness 
Jade suffered from depression and tricotilamania 
Both the guys suffered from depression 
And Orla probably had the saddest story 
She had recently lost her Mum to cancer
And her sister to suicide 
She is also a single mother
Orla is actually from my area
She is a Pilates instructor
And attended the same yoga class I did last year
I never really said more than hello to her
But I remember my sister saying that she was a cold fish 
But it turns out she wasn't 
She was actually dealing with a hell of a lot
Her whole world was caving in 
And was probably going around in a complete haze 
It just goes to show 
You can't judge people 
As you just don't know what they are dealing with
Someone who appears unfriendly or distant or cold 
Might actually be going through the wars
Usually if someone is like that with me
I usually presume it's me they don't like or don't wAnt to talk to
But 
As I remind myself regularly 
It's not all about me 
This is a huge lesson
To make allowances for others 
You never know what is going on in their heads 

The four participants all had a base line of fitness
The all ran regularly 
And Mark was a former competitive cyclist 
So they weren't couch potatoes as such
At the beginning of the show
All four spoke about their illness
The crippling low moods 
The heavy feeling in their body
The weariness 
The feeling of being swamped by negative thoughts
I could relate to every word 
I thought they were so brave 
To go on national TV 
And talk about their deepest darkest issues 
It was clear that they all wanted to move forward 
And their strength and honesty shone through

First 
The participants were put through a fitness test 
They were also tested medically and psychologically 
And deemed fit and well to take part 
They were under the care of a team of professionals 
Nutritionists 
Psychologists 
Doctors 
And of course Bressie
Who was there for them every step of the way 
Then
The next challenge 
Was to swim in a body of open water 
Bressie brought them to a lake in the Midlands 
And had them swim 1km
They will all very anxious about the task 
But were determined to finish it
The two girls did well
And completed the swim first and second
The guys however 
Really struggled 
And one had a mini panic attack half way through the swim
Afterwards 
They had a mindfulness session 
And also cognitive behavioural therapy
Again
I was blown away by their willingness to talk so openly 
It really was inspiring

At one point in the show
Orla hit a real low point
And was struggling to cope
The psychologist visited her at home for a chat 
She spoke of how she was struggling to get over the death of her mother and sister 
She was asked if her mother was there 
What her mother would say to her
Orla replied that she would say
'Relax and enjoy it'
She was then asked if her sister was there, what Orla would say to her
She had one simple question 
'Why?
Why did you do it?
Why didn't you speak to one of us?
Why were you so proud?'
It was heartbreaking to watch 

A few weeks later 
And Bressie set their next task
To compete in a half Iron Man
Which comprised a 1km swim
A 20km bike ride
And a 5 km run
Again 
They were all extremely nervous 
But they had all trained hard 
And we're ready 
Brilliantly 
They all finished
With Jade coming first 
I could see they were on such a high
The feeling of accomplishment was clear to see on their faces 

I really enjoyed the show
And probably more so because I knew one of the participants 
I think the concept is a great idea
As I firmly believe there is a strong link between mental health and physical health
I can see it working in my own life 
I walk every day 
Lea especially is always keen to go for a walk 
And that's great for me
As some days it's hard to leave the house 
But I would never refuse my dogs a walk
I also started back swimming recently 
And go once or twice a week
I actually hate the thought of going swimming 
Having to organise myself to go
Getting in to the cold water 
And taking ages to warm up
But once I am there 
I really enjoy it
And I always feel great after pushing myself 
It's great for my mental health 
My confidence
Self esteem 
And it generally gives me a good feeling
I would also love to take up running
But my body doesn't seem to want to let me do that 
So I will stick to walking 

The show also showed 
How important it is to get out there and get stuck in to something 
Be that exercise
A support group
Volunteering 
Being around other people is good for us 
It takes us out of ourselves 
It's talking to others 
And getting out of our own heads 
It definitely helped me see that I need to do this more 
Get out of the house
Get involved in activities 
Meet people 
Learn new skills 
I am a loner at heart 
But I also love people 
So it's something to think about 

The show is on again next week
So I wil update you then

With all that said 
I was wondering about you
Do you believe that there is a link between mental and physical health?
Have you seen that work in your own life?
Do you find that getting out and about helps you?
What role does exercise play in your life?
Inquiring minds want to know....

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Not Backing Down

Apologies for not replying to comments yesterday
I just didn't have the energy
The last few days have been exhausting 
And it's taken a toll
Stupidly 
I really let those negative comments get to me 
My mood suffered 
My family noticed 
They kept telling me to shake it off
But being as hyper sensitive as I am
It took me a while
I want to thank all of you for your kind words and thoughtful comments over the last week
Knowing that you are there makes this whole blogging experience worthwhile 
But I'm done defending myself 
Especially against faceless, nameless anonymous comments 
I guess it all points to the fact that my self esteem and self worth are not in a great place
And I need to work on that 
As they say in AA
Recovery happens sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly
It's not something that can be measured
But it's definitely something to look at
But look
These problems are small fry compared to some 
You may think I have an easy life anonymous
But you only see a fraction of my life 
I don't write about my family
And the issues going on there 
I have much that I don't write about 
So please 
Don't judge me
You have no right to 

So I'm not backing down
I'm not going to leave blogger
It means too much to me 
You mean too much to me 
And for what it's worth 
I'm not giving up on recovery either
And am trying my best to get back on track
Yes 
I have lost weight 
But I am doing everything in my power to put the brakes on
It's not easy 
Once my ED is given half a chance 
It jumps in to drivers seat
And takes over the whole show 
Let's hope this is a slip more than a relapse 

Some of you pointed out that blogging the way I do is like a job 
I've always thought that 
Blogging is something I do at the same time every day
In the same place
Often I have to research something before I write about it 
And I reply to comments which also takes time 
Granted 
It's not a paid job 
But I get something so much more than money from writing this blog 
I do it because I love it
Because I hope it helps others 
Because I feel compelled to share my story and experiences 
In the hope that it will go some way to fight the battle against eating disorders 
So
I'm here to stay 
Even if anonymous would rather I go and cry in the corner 
I guess the thing is not to react to these comments 
It only gives them power
I'm not prepared to do that any more 
And interestingly 
Anonymous did not comment on my last post 

Anyway 
That's it from me today 
This is the last time I write about this subject
I am done defending myself 
I'm off to walk my dogs 
And spend a lazy Sunday 
Yes anonymous 
What a lazy, unemployed waste of space I am.....

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Judgment

I hit a really low point yesterday
Yesterday's post was written out of a place of having to defend myself 
I felt attacked by the anonymous comments who told me to 'Grow up' and 'Get a job'
And because my confidence is on the low side 
I didn't have the ability to see these what these comments were
An faceless, nameless, anonymous commenter
Someone who reads my blog
But doesn't approve of my lifestyle 
They obviously have a bee in their Bonnet about my not working 
And have been very vocal about that lately 

I actually thought about deleting my blog and leaving blogger yesterday 
That's how bad I felt 
I spoke to various members of my family 
And consensus was to ignore said comments
Read and delete
They pointed out that I don't know these people 
And their opinions shouldn't matter
Much like what a lot of you wrote on the comments section too
I'm not leaving though 
There may be negatives to writing this blog
But there are more positives 
So I will continue to blog
And continue to fight for recovery
You also suggested that I disable anonymous comments 
I would do this only that there are quite a few readers who comment under anonymous but who always leave their names 
So I don't want to do that 
Also I want to get to a place where I can read these comments and not give them a second thought
So I will leave it as it is for now

The thing is 
I felt judged yesterday 
I felt like my whole life was being torn apart 
I know I put myself out there 
So I should expect such judgment 
It's amazing how someone can get up on their high horse and cast judgment on others 
I mean 
My life is not perfect 
I do the best I can 
I am struggling at the moment 
Big time 
But I am trying my level best to get back on track 
If there is one thing I don't do 
Is judge others 
You may smoke 40 cigarettes a day
You may drink your weight in wine
You may smoke a joint from time to time
Or maybe every day 
You may never donate to charity 
Or only shower once a week
You may have stolen in your time 
Or not paid a parking fine 
You may be a staunch workaholic 
Or not work at all
You may have purple hair 
A face full of piercings 
And a body covered in tattoos
You may be gay
Bisexual 
Transgender 
Whatever it is 
I am not here to judge you
Your life is your life 
And you can do with it as you please 
Let those with out sin cast the first stone and all that 

So go ahead anonymous 
Judge me
Judge me for all your worth 
I know I'm a good person
I bet if you were dealing with what I am dealing with 
You wouldn't be perfect either
I put myself out there to help others 
And myself 
If putting others down is what does it for you 
Then go ahead 
I've dealt with worse than you in my life
Far far worse 
Live and let live I say
In the words of One Direction
'Nobody can drag me down'

Ha 
Can't believe I just quoted One Direction!
I don't even like them!
Can you tell I'm feeling better today....



Thursday, 19 November 2015

The working world

An anonymous reader left a comment on yesterday's post
Asking about the fact that I don't work
And pointing out that I have it easy
I replied to the comment in my replies yesterday
But I also felt a need to write a post addressing this issue
As I'm sure there are others who wonder about my situation 
I'm not annoyed or upset by this question
And I have absolutely no problem in replying 

To the outside world
It may look like I have it easy 
And I guess in some ways I do 
I live with my Mum
And I live here not only because I can't afford to move out on my own
I live here because I like living with my Mum
To all intents and purposes 
It feels like we are house sharing
Rather than living with a parent
I contribute to rent and bills
As well as paying my own car and phone bills 
I do my share of the house work 
And we take it in turns to cook
It would make no sense for me to move out now 
And try to maintain the running of a house/flat on my own
And more than all of that 
I am happy here 

I kind of feel like I am defending myself here
And that's not why I wanted to write this post 
I may look like I am having a great ol' time not working and living off the state
It hasn't always been this way
Up until my ED developed 
And even during my ED
I worked 
I always worked 
A few years ago I was put on disability allowance
And have been on it since
My last job was teaching dance to kids 
I taught 4 classes a week
But over night 
I lost my confidence
And never went back

Confidence poses a huge obstacle for me as regards work 
I just don't have the confidence that I can do a job
And do it well
My self esteem has taken a battering over the years 
It's been shattered 
And I'm only now beginning to put it back together 
I also don't want to secure a job until I am sure that I can maintain it 
I did apply for part time positions during the summer 
But nothing came of those 
I really want to feel capable of holding down a job before I start working
I have a long history of starting things and not finishing them
And that really knocks your confidence 
I want to be in the best frame of mind possible 
And I'm just not there yet

Which brings me to my next point
I don't know guys 
I don't even think I can truthfully say that I am in recovery any more 
My head is all over the place
Purging has increased in the last couple of weeks 
My weight continues to drop 
And I am generally acting like a very eating disordered person
To be honest 
I feel like I have one foot in recovery
And one foot in my illness
Committing to neither
Trying to have my cake and eat it too
I'm caught up in the honey moon phase of losing weight
And even though I know how this story ends 
I can't seem to stop
Logically and rationally 
I know what I am doing is wrong
It's the behaviour of someone who really should know better

It's scary 
The years are flying by
One year blends in to the next
And nothing changes
Yes over the last year I have been dabbling in recovery 
But did I ever really fully commit?
That's up for debate 
I know I need to man up
And choose a path 
One way or the other 
I can't have both
One always bleeds in to another 
And I'm left in this kind of limbo
A no mans land 
Neither here nor there 
That's not where I want to be 

I want to get well 
I do 
But I have to admit 
The safety of my ED appeals to me 
In that it's all I have to worry about 
Even though it's a living hell
I don't have to deal with life on life's terms 
I have often said that death doesn't scare me
Life scares me a hell of a lot more
Thus far
I haven't been able to handle life without the use of a substance 
Or a behaviour 
The truth is 
That I've not lived in reality for a long time
And now I'm wondering if I can't handle it at all 
I find living in reality hard
I don't know 
Maybe everyone feels like this 
And they just don't say it 
Maybe people just get on with things
And maybe that's what I should do too 
I don't know

So yes 
I know I am blessed in a lot of ways 
I have a strong family around me
And if anything bad ever happens 
They are there to help me put back the pieces together 
But please 
Don't think I have it easy
I fight a battle every day
To stay clean and sober 
To not inject myself with mind and body numbing drugs 
Sometimes I see or hear or smell something that reminds me of heroin
And literally have to stop my self from jumping in to my car and heading to get drugs 
A craving is a powerful thing 
And I get them all the time
Be it heroin 
Or alcohol
Or cigarettes
I fight to not lose the plot completely where food is concerned 
As I wrote recently 
My black and white behaviours means I eat all the food 
Or none of the food
I fight not to binge
And not to purge 
It doesn't always work 
But I keep trying 
Some days I wake up with a sense of impending doom
And I don't want to get up and face the day
Some days just getting out of bed is a triumph
Some days eating my lunch and keeping it down is a victory 
And sometimes just leaving my house to walk my dogs is success 
It's all relative
It's easy to look at someone else's life and think that the grass is greener
But I wouldn't wish the issues I deal with on anyone

I hope this explains my situation a bit better
And I'm happy to answer any other questions that you have 
You know the saying don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes?
I think that applies here...

Work!

For the past week
We have been having some work done in our house
In our kitchen
There used to be a divider between the kitchen itself and the dining/sitting room
The divider was two presses/cupboards
So really the kitchen was cut in half 
And caused a real lack of space 
There was always something in the way
The table
The cupboards 
Each other
We've been meaning to get this work done for years
And this week we finally got it done

Two men came to do the work
Who I will call Sean and Peter
We know Peter well
He has been doing work for us since we moved here ten years ago
He is also the guy that used to have a crush on me 
And tried to kiss me more than once
Anyway 
Because my Mum and I don't have a man in the house 
And we manage pretty darn well without one thank you very much
My Mother and I can do some of the work
But something's we do need a hand with 
Mainly outside jobs that we just wouldn't have the strength for 
So yes 
Peter has been here from the start
And more than a handiman 
He has become a family friend 
Although my sister can't stand him
She thinks he is a bit dim
Ok
He's probably not the sharpest tool in the box
But who are we to judge?
My Mum likes him because he is reliable and pleasant 
And he is 

So 
We told Peter what we wanted done
The barrier in the kitchen moved against the side wall 
Which would completely open up the kitchen
A new wood floor in the sitting area
And also the wood floor in our dining room replaced
As it was really in bad nic
Peter put us in touch with Sean
And a date was set for the work 

Although we knew there would be some upset in the house
We really weren't prepared for the magnitude of the work thdt needed to be done 
We had to take everything out of the kitchen
Out of the cupboards
The furniture 
The kettle which was moved to my bedroom
Which was essential 
As you know how much I love my tea
The kitchen was a no go area for those few days 
Poor Honey and Lea were banished to the utility room or outside
Lea elected to sit in my car 
I don't know why 
But she loves to sit in there
The air was blue with all the swearing that was going on
It was funny really 
Because Sean was obviously in charge of the operation 
And through the walls we could hear him shouting at Peter

'No not like that
You're doing it wrong you eejit'

'Pull it don't push it you stupid man'

'Not your left, my left'

'Straight!
Straight!!!
I said straight!!!!'

It really was great entertainment 
And we often sat and listened to them rather than turning on the TV 

A few days later 
And the kitchen was done
It made a massive difference in terms of space 
We didn't know what to do with ourselves we had so much room
The dogs were also very happy as they had much more room to stretch out on the floor 
We also moved the dining table over I front of the window 
As we have a fantastic view out over the mountain 
I would post photos only my camera is playing up 
So hopefully I will get them up soon

Then work moved from the kitchen to the hall
The whole floor had to be pulled up
Which also meant every thing in the hall had to be moved 
We put furniture any where we could fit it 
And every room and every space in the house was full of stuff 
And the work men didn't always turn up when they said they would 
So we were left living in a building site for a few days 

My job during the work was chief tea maker
And yes
That is an official title 
Sean was very particular about his tea 
Very strong 
With just a drop of milk
I like to think that I've got making tea down to a fine art 
I drink bucket loads of it myself 
The men 
Or Laurel and Hardy as my sister calls 
Had their lunch at 1pm every day
It was fascinating watching them
Peter usually had a sandwich that he pulled from his jacket pocket 
It was usually wrapped in cling film
And inevitably squashed flat
Like someone sat on it 
Sean on the other hand 
Took a more serious and professional approach to his lunch
Oh yes 
He had a proper lunch bag
I say bag
But it was actually like a small rucksack 
He had a menagerie of things in that bag
Cups
A flask 
Not just one or two teabags
But a whole box 
A small carton of milk
Sandwiches 
And many packets of crisps
I used to see him eating crisps more than a couple of times a day
No chocolate though I noticed 
He must be a savoury man
So yes
Being a people watcher 
I was do interested watching them
At the end of every day 
They would stand and look at the work they had done 
They loved being praised 
Do Mum and I would ooooh and aaaaah over the great work that the big strong men had done 
It was quite funny really

The work is all but done now
And I have to say
They did a fantastic job
We have so much more room
And their work was very neat and tidy
Now it's down to us to put the house back together 
And make it look pretty 

Some other little things came up while the workmen were here
On the odd occasion that I did purge
It was quite the secret operation
I guess I could have used the upstairs bathroom
But the flush is not as good as the one downstairs 
When I had to purge I tried to time it so that the men would not be there
But it wasn't always possible
And sometimes they were right outside the bathroom door
I guess it highlighted for me how not normal my behaviour can be
To me and my family 
My ED behaviours are so common and out in the open
They they have become normal
This week was a reminder that most people do not purge after eating 
And do look after their health

In other news 
My scale is definitely fecked 
So no idea what my weight is
But I'm trying my best to allow myself to eat when I'm hungry
And keep purging to a minimum 
Now that I've lost a few kilos
I feel a lot more comfortable in my skin
My clothes feel better 
They're not riding up or puckering in places 
I look more streamlined 
But still retain my curves 
I think I might have gone down a bra cup size or two
But that's no harm either
I don't want to lose any more weight I think 
I would just like to maintain the way I am 
Which is in between a size 8 and size 10
And I am happy enough with that 

So at the moment 
Life is pretty good
My mental health is good 
My physical health is getting better all the time 
Things are not perfect 
The are things I could improve on for sure 
My intake
My social life 
My meds 
I don't think things will ever be perfect for me
But then whose life is perfect?
No one I know
That's for sure  

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Fate....

It seems that fate has intervened in my little dilemma 
And my scale has packed in
Infuriatingly 
Every time I stand on it 
It gives me a different reading
It is a Weight Watchers scale 
My second one in fact
And I find them really unreliable 
When I was out for my walk
I nipped in to the chemist to see if they had a different one
But they only had WW ones
So I am now scale less
And maybe that's a good thing
For now anyway
I was getting too caught up the numbers
So at least now I can just go by how I feel 
And I feel pretty ok
My clothes fit 
My hair and nails are healthy 
My skin is fine 
So let's go with that

I was wondering about you
Whether you are in recovery or not 
How often do you weigh?
Or do you think we should weigh at all?
How often do you weigh?
How often do you think is healthy?
Inquiring minds want to know....

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Trying to bounce back

Ok
So I am struggling to snap out of diet mode
In just that short space of time
I got used to not eating junk food
And not eating after my evening meal
Then of course standing on the scale every morning is addictive
Especially when the numbers are going down
You see the thing is 
My eating has been disordered for as long as I can remember 
I know a bit about nutrition
But I think I really need to educate myself about healthy eating
Because I eat what I want 
When I want 
There is no rhyme nor reason to the way I eat 
I graze instead of eating fixed meals 
Although I do have a dinner every evening
But that doesn't always stay down 
So yes
I have a lot of work to do 
Because some where over the last couple of weeks 
I have slipped in to ED mode
Without even realising it
Dare I say it 
I am enjoying the feeling of being empty 
The dizziness when I stand up
The way my clothes feel looser
The false feeling of being in control
All this is making it difficult to get back on track

I am not underweight at all
But as I always say 
EDs have little to do with weight
You could be bang on a healthy weight
But be tortured inside your head
You may not be over weight or under weight
But still be caught in the midst of mental illness 
For me 
It's about my state of mind 
And my behaviours
And I know how quickly small issues can snowball in to a full blown relapse 

They say a relapse happens long before you pick up the drink or drug
Or your ED behaviours 
For me 
It started a few weeks ago
When I weighed myself for the first time in a long time 
And then the infamous navy jeans 
I really don't want to go back to being underweight and ill
I really don't 
But once your on the run away train that is an ED 
It becomes really hard to get off

The thing is 
I may have another relapse in me
But I don't know if I have another recovery in me
The energy it takes to pull myself out of the gutter is something that I don't know if I have any more 
But I should be able to do this 
Stop myself falling down the rabbit hole
I've caught this early 
And I think I can at least hold ground for the moment 

Following on from your comments
And something that Eve wrote
I am seriously considering finding someone to help me with my diet and exercise 
Or failing that
Really researching and educating myself about maintaining a healthy body and mind 
Again
I don't want to be underweight 
But I do want to feel comfortable in my own skin
My BMI now is 21
And I think that is in or around what I have always been when healthy 
I have put my body through a lot over the years 
Really used and abused it
I want to try and be a lot kinder to it
More gentle 
Because God knows for years I put it through hell 
Starving it 
Bingeing and purging up to 20 times a day
Injecting drugs in to it
And generally treating it like a dust bin

At the moment 
I am having a battle in my head
Over what to eat
When to eat 
How much to it 
It's absolute torture
I'm going around and around in my head
Fighting with myself 
Then feeling guilty when I do it
This is all very ED I know
It's scary how quickly it can take up residence again in our lives
Before you know it 
You are knee deep in behaviours
Something that I am really missing is Mary 
She was always so helpful and practical
And just talking it over with someone really helps 
I guess I could call her 
Even just for a quick phone chat
I also have my friend from treatment who I can speak to
And will hopefully see her in the next week
She is always great to talk to too
As she is fighting the same battle that I am

So 
I guess I just keep on keeping on
Keep writing 
Keep talking 
Keep eating 
Keep remembering how far I've come
And that I don't want to go back to that vain existence 
Keep trying to live my life the best way I can 
Keep being accountable 
Honest 
About my struggles
As well as my triumphs 
Keep connecting with others in the same position as me 
Keep my supports
My family 
Who are my biggest cheer leaders
My friends 
I don't have many 
But the ones I do have are precious 
My dogs 
Who continue to be the light of my life 
I'm not giving up
I'm not backing down 
Anorexia and bulimia 
I hope you are ready for war
Because I'm not backing down without a fight 
Bring it on bitch....

Monday, 16 November 2015

Thinking it over

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my last post
I realise that it's not easy to tell someone when you think they might be going down a wrong path
Even as I wrote that post
I think I knew deep down that what I was doing was counter intuitive 
I was fighting against what my body wanted 
And needed to do
And I am now rethinking the whole weight loss thing 
As of this morning 
I've lost nine pounds
And my navy trousers most definitely fit
I have no need to continue on this path
Because I don't know if I'll be able to put the brakes on
I can't know when the ED takes over
As someone wrote yesterday
The line between losing a few pounds and the ED is a very fine one
In fact it's almost invisible 
I'm barely a year in to my recovery 
My body is finding its natural set point 
I think it's a good idea to lay off the junk food like I have though 
And concentrate on nourishing and feeding my body properly 
I swear 
I had been eating a lot of junk food 
Practically surviving on it 
And I know that's not good 
Again 
It's like it's all or nothing 
All the food 
Or none of the food 
Black or white 

Actually 
I don't think I've ever successfully dieted in my whole life
As in lose a sensible amount of weight while still feeding my body 
Fasts never worked for me either
I've always lost the most weight while bingeing and purging 
I suppose the body gets so dehydrated 
That the weight drops quickly
But even in the 11 days that I was trying to lose weight 
I think a lot of it is also dehydration
I haven't been purging much 
But admittedly
I haven't been feeding my body very well
Also
I had become more and more obsessed with the scale
Weighing myself a ridiculous amount of times a day 
And my mood and self esteem bouncing up and down along with the weight

Even at my lowest weight
I still allowed myself chocolate
Albeit I ate nothing else 
But I love my savoury and sweet treats 
I mean what is life without a little treat now and again?
I am a firm believer in everything in moderation
Including moderation
Whether I can put that in to practise is another matter 
I try 
I do
But again
My whole body and mind is programmed for all or nothing 
It doesn't seem to understand anything else 
They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit
Or is it 28?
I'm Not quite sure 
But I know I can get my eating good if I just put in a little effort 
Heck I've given up heroin and cigarettes 
Why is food so damn tricky?
It's like my last nemesis 
It's just so hard because I can cut heroin, alcohol and smokes out of my life 
But with food 
You can't do that 
Well you can 
But that would completely defeat the purpose 
Yes 
It's tricky to find a happy medium
Especially for people with EDs and addiction issues

Another thing is the numbers
I know I can get totally obsessed seeing the numbers go down
It's like a power trip 
That false feeling that you are in control
But of course you are in fact spinning wildly out of control

Someone mentioned yesterday 
About allowing my body to be the size it wants to be 
This is another interesting point
Before my ED
I was always around 54kg
But since my ED developed 
My weight has fluctuated a lot
I never seem to stay the same weight for long
Because of all the bingeing and purging 
I've been trying to stay in around a size 8 - 10
But maybe my body needs to be bigger for a while
I'm sure my metabolism is shot at this point 
And my body is compensating 
Because it's not always sure when it's being fed again
Or if I will let my body keep the food

Now my challenge is to get back to some sort of normality
Over the last week or so
I've become used to being hungry 
And almost even enjoying it
All of a sudden 
It becomes difficult to eat
And I don't doubt that it will be now

I will take it easy 
Rule no 1 is to stop weighing 
And to eat three meal and snacks
But still allow myself a treat when the fancy takes me
I guess I  am a work in progress
As I wrote yesterday
Recovery is not a straight road
God knows I make mistakes on a daily basis 
But I do try to learn from them
And not repeat them
That is the trick I think 

Yesterday's comments 
Reminded me why I write this blog
You beautiful and smart ladies have me done sterling advice 
And thdt is exactly why I wrote they post yesterday 
As I know you will tell me what I need to hear
Rather than what I want to hear
I thank you from the bottom of my heart
For reading 
For being there
For being honest with me
Even when it's difficult and awkward 
I appreciate it more than you will ever know 

Also
I lost a follower today
Is that because I disappointed you?